Brankica Janković: It is high time for a stimulating and safe environment for pregnant women and mothers in labor

The confession of a woman about her experience during childbirth and the death of her baby in the hospital in Sremska Mitrovica, as reported by the media, is deeply moving and worrying. The authorities must determine all the facts of this case. It is high time that we all, together as a society, create a stimulating and safe environment for pregnant women and mothers in labor because it is a matter of health and quality of life, but also an essential issue of women’s equality, says the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković.

We pointed out the necessity of humane and adequate treatment in gynecological-obstetrical institutions by recommending measures to achieve equality and protection against discrimination in individual health institutions. I believe that all relevant actors, above all health care institutions, must be involved in creating better conditions and an atmosphere in which going into labor will not mean a shocking and traumatic experience and even a reason to give up the next pregnancy but will represent a special moment and joy for every mother and that family. During pregnancy, but also during childbirth and later, namely, in one of the most sensitive and important periods in life, women should be given full support and made to feel safe, secure, and protected, adds the Commissioner. Also, this problem must not be approached with sensationalism, nor should cases be generalized, which is why it is very important to scrutinize the responsibility and circumstances that led to omissions and inadequate treatment of pregnant women and mothers in each specific case.

The highest standard and humane treatment must be secured for women when providing health care in gynecology and obstetrics. Therefore, in addition to adequate spatial conditions, it is necessary to provide constant education of medical staff, from reception workers to doctors and midwives, not only from the aspect of health care but also from the aspect of realizing all human rights, equally for everyone. The institution I lead will do everything to be a coherent factor in this process, and in this sense, we are preparing a recommendation of measures to the competent authorities and planning to organize a dialogue to improve the equality of all women in connection with pregnancy and childbirth. We must do everything to eradicate bad practices that lead to inadequate and inhumane treatment of pregnant women and women in labor, and even endanger their health and lives, concludes Janković.

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